gingerbread cookies

The Star of the Show & Gingerbread Cookies

Jonah 4:10 (erv)

And the Lord said, “You did nothing for that plant. You did not make it grow. It grew up in the night, and the next day it died. And now you are sad about it.

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It’s often easy to see how people tend to make themselves the center of the story, from the outside looking in, of course. But usually, it’s more difficult to notice if we’re doing that ourselves. It’s even harder to change that behavior. It’s easy to believe that we should be the leading lady in our own stories.

But this scripture, and in fact, the entire book of Jonah, reminds us that the center of the story is God’s place to fill. Unfortunately, it’s almost effortless to begin seeing the things and people that God created as our supporting cast and the props in our adventure. We begin to believe that we’re in charge.

An example of this behavior is illustrated really beautifully in the book The Shack, by William P. Young. If you’re not familiar with this fictional book, it’s about a family who loses their youngest daughter to a kidnapping and murder. The father has an incredibly difficult time moving forward and holds a lot of anger and resentment toward God for allowing this to happen. There’s a scene when the man is asked to pass judgement on his children and decide which one lives and which one dies. The man is unable to choose, and God uses this to make His point.

Jonah was in a similar situation in the town of Nineveh. He was angry with God for allowing them to live and showing mercy on them, even though they’d sinned. He went outside of the city to pout (for lack of better terms) and settled in to wait it out. God brought up a plant right next to him, which provided him shade. Verse 6 even says, “He was very happy because of this plant (ERV).”

However, the next day, God took the plant away, and Jonah once again became very upset. That’s when our Scripture for the day comes in. While reading through Jonah 4, one thing stood out to me: Jonah was upset at God for both allowing His creation to live and also for killing it. It’s kind of hard for God to win with Jonah at this point, right?

That’s because Jonah thinks he’s in charge. But he’s not the only one. We all tend to believe that lie at one point or another. And when everything and everyone around us are simply extras in our story, we can’t see their true path and purpose that the One who’s really in charge has laid out for them. Instead of focusing on how they’re serving God, we’re seeing how they’re mistreating or inconveniencing us.

It’s time to flip the script, friends. God has made us worthy and priceless, but we were never meant to be the leading star of the show. That’s a role that only He can fill.

Write

What situations or circumstances prompt you to feel the need to control or be in the center? How can you take a step back and allow God to have that space in your life?

Pray

Ask the Lord to give you comfort and peace as an “extra” in His story.

Gingerbread Cookies

3 hr, 10 Prep Time

10 minCook Time

3 hr, 20 Total Time

Serves 20-30 Cookies

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Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 ground teaspoon cloves

Instructions

  1. Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy
  2. Add in brown sugar and molasses and continue beating until fully combined
  3. Add vanilla and egg to bowl and continue mixing until smooth
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and spices and mix
  5. Gently add flour mixture into butter mixture until combined
  6. Divide dough into thirds and place each in the center of a large piece of plastic wrap
  7. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days
  8. When dough is ready to bake, remove one third at a time
  9. Flour a clean surface and roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  11. Cut out cookie shapes and place on parchment paper at least 1/2 inch apart
  12. Bake for about 10 minutes
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes
  14. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely on a flat surface before decorating

Notes

The amount of cookies you get from this batch of dough is dependent on the sizes/shapes of the cutters used.

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